Saturday, October 29, 2016

Unused Treasure

I dreamed that a dear sister in Christ, a member of one of the Bible studies I teach, asked if she could see my jewelry collection. She had often admired jewelry pieces I had worn, most of them gifts from my husband Richard or inherited from my mother or aunt, but lately I had not been wearing much jewelry.

I open a drawer in the jewelry box for her to see and am embarrassed that it is dusty. Inside is an antique, silver filigree cross set with an amethyst, that Richard had given me for a special occasion long ago. I had forgotten it was there. The silver is tarnished; the left end of the horizontal cross bar is broken off, and the delicate chain is tangled around the cross.  

As I try to disentangle it, the chain breaks in several places. As I am holding and handling the cross, the silver regains a new luster. It begins to transform, changing shape and growing larger until it is in the shape of a tree with many branches. New amethysts appear like ripe plums hanging from the boughs. My friend and I are amazed and rejoice at the transformation.

When I awaken, I realize that the dream is not about material possessions but about spiritual treasure. In the dream, my husband had given me the necklace, symbolizing Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom of the church (Isaiah 62:5; Matthew 9:15; 25:1-10; Mark 2:19-20; Luke 5:34-35; John 3:29;), Who gives us all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3).

At the moment we are saved by placing our faith in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6), we become joint-heirs of all His treasure (Romans 8:17), jncluding eternal life (John 3:16), abundant life here and now (John 10:10), and being seated in heavenly places with Him (Ephesians 1:3).

Jesus does not need us to wear jewelry, for He wants to adorn us with something far more precious – the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4), through which His radiance can shine. The prophet Isaiah compares the robe of righteousness in which the Bridegroom clothes us to the jewels adorning the bride (Isaiah 61:10). If we submit to His will and use our spiritual gifts -- the engagement present He gives us when we commit to Him as Lord and Savior – those gifts will glorify Him and bless others.

When the Holy Spirit enters us at the instant of salvation (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13), He gives every believer one or more spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12). But this spiritual treasure does us and others no good if we fail to use it. If we keep it tucked away in a drawer, it will rust and deteriorate. In the dream, my sister in Christ gently reminded me that she wanted to see the treasure I had been given. Bringing the necklace out of the forgotten drawer was the first step, symbolizing using His gift of teaching to edify others.

The jewelry in the dream was a necklace, appropriate because we are bound to Christ as fellow-laborers by a yoke that is easy to bear (Matthew 11:30). The pendant was a cross, reminding me of how He came to earth in human flesh (John 1:14) to suffer and die (Ephesians 2:16), to be the perfect, sinless sacrifice to pay our sin debt and reconcile sinful man to holy God (Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20; Colossians 1:20-21; Hebrews 2:17).

The left part of the cross bar was broken off, perhaps a reminder that He has separated us from all our sins, including those in our past that Satan loves to dredge up in an attempt to convince us that we are unfit to serve Christ. But we are His betrothed, and nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:39). The fragments of chain wrapped around the cross represent those sins, weights and distractions that hinder us from using His gifts to His glory (Hebrews 12:1) .

Centered on the cross was an amethyst (Exodus 28:19; 39:12), a purple gemstone symbolizing His Kingship, for purple is the color of royalty (Exodus 25:4, etc., Judges 8:26, Esther 8:15; Proverbs 31:22; and reminding me of our faith in His shed blood to was away all sins (Mark 15:17). Jesus Christ is Wisdom, Who is far more precious than gold, silver, and rubies (Job 28:18; Proverbs 8:11).

Although I had neglected His invaluable gift, it was amazing to see it transform once I remembered and began to use it! Just by bringing the pendant out into the light and holding it in my hand, the silver began to shine, the chains disentangled, and the pendant began to grow and transform from a cross to a bountiful plum tree! If we use our spiritual treasure, it will grow, and so will we. We will become like a tree planted by rivers of living water, bearing much fruit (Psalm 1:3; John 15:2-8).

May we not forget, neglect, and hoard our spiritual treasure. Instead, may we wear and use it joyfully for all to see and be blessed, to His glory!

© 2016 Laurie Collett
Womanhood With Purpose
Adorned From Above
No Ordinary Blog Hop

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Prudent Ruler Honors God with His Heart, Mind, and Actions

Scholar's reconstruction of King Solomon's Temple

As we have seen, God granted Solomon’s prayer for wisdom (1 Kings 3:7-14; 4.29-32), also blessing him with wealth and power (1 Chronicles 29:25). He was therefore divinely gifted to take on the mission God intended for him – to rule His people, to judge them fairly (1 Kings 3:16-28), and to build His temple. Solomon’s father, King David, proclaimed to his princes, captains and stewards, in the presence of his officers, mighty men, and valiant men, that Solomon would oversee the construction of God’s house (1 Chronicles 28:1)

David’s desire, intention, and preparation had been to build “an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and for the footstool of our God” (v. 2). But God would not allow him to do it, for David had been a warrior and had shed blood, whereas Solomon would rule in peace (1 Chronicles 22:9), making him better suited for this honor (1 Chronicles 28:3).

Just as God had chosen David to be king over Israel, selecting him from the house of Judah, from the house of his father; and from his many brothers, he chose Solomon from all David’s sons to be David’s successor, to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel, and to build God’s house and courts (v. 4-6).

God had told David of this plan for Solomon, whom He had chosen to be His son, to whom He would be Father, and for whom He would establish his kingdom forever, if he continued to obey God (v. 7). This was a conditional promise, as David explained to Solomon in the presence of all Israel, the Lord’s congregation, and before the audience of God Himself (v. 8).

When a follower of God embarks on His divine mission, doing so before the church body ensures accountability, guidance, and support (Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 10:25). David was passing the torch to his son Solomon as ruler over Israel, patriarch over the family (1 Chronicles 29:25), and as a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). It is therefore fitting that he did so in the assembly of his royal court, his sons, and Almighty God (1 Chronicles 28:1,8).

Usually God communicates with believers through His recorded Word (Psalm 119); sometimes God speaks to us directly (1 Kings 19:12), as He did in this case to David; and often He sends us a message via Godly counsel (Psalm 37:30), just as He revealed His plan for Solomon through his father. David announced God’s desire that Solomon would keep and seek for all His commandments, know the God of his father David, and serve Him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind (1 Chronicles 28:8-9).

It is interesting that God referred to Himself very specifically as “the God of thy father.” In His complete foreknowledge, He knew that Solomon would be drawn away by his pagan wives to follow false gods (1 Kings 11), for He searches all hearts, and understands all our thoughts and imaginings. But if Solomon sought after the One True God, he would find Him, possess the good land of Israel, and leave it to his children as a perpetual inheritance. Conversely, if Solomon forsook God, He would cast him off forever (1 Chronicles 28: 8-9).

Because God had chosen Solomon to build His house, David urged him to take heed, be strong, and do it. He gave him floor plans for the temple porch, houses, and treasuries, with details for the upper chambers, the inner parlors, and the place of the mercy seat. All these were inspired by the Spirit, Who gave the design for the courts, surrounding chambers, and treasuries of the house of God, He also provided plans for the courses of the priests and the Levites, for all the work of the service of the house of the Lord, and for all the vessels of service in the house of the Lord (v. 10-13).

Here we see the Trinity represented by the Holy Spirit, with the other two Members symbolized by King David as the Father and Solomon as His Son. Solomon was chosen by God to build His temple, where His glory would dwell with men (2 Chronicles 5:14).

This foreshadows the plan of salvation, foreordained by the Trinity before the beginning of time, by which sinful man can be saved and have eternal life (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). God the Father would send Jesus Christ the Son, robed in human flesh (John 1:14), to be God dwelling with us (Emmanuel; Matthew 1:23), the perfect sacrifice for all of our sins, and the Lamb of God (John 1:29) reconciling us to Holy God (2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Ephesians 2:16). The Holy Spirit empowered Jesus Christ to obey the will of His Father, endure the suffering on the cross, and rise again from the dead.

David not only provided Solomon with the temple plans he had received from God, and the Godly counsel to complete the task, but also material wealth of gold and silver for the temple instruments, furnishings, and altar (1 Chronicles 28: 8-18). “All this, said David, the Lord made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern” (v. 19).

Clearly this was not merely a passing thought that entered David’s mind, perhaps of his own imagination, but a detailed missive from God Himself, engraved onto his very being. When instructions from the Holy Spirit are that clear, thorough, and detailed, we ignore them at our own peril (John 10:27). David recognized their origin and responded appropriately because he was in the habit of communing with God and listening to His voice. No wonder that God chose David to author so many Psalms!

Again David emphasized to Solomon that he must be strong, fearless, and do what God had commanded, for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord (1 Chronicles 28:20).

God would empower Solomon in this project not only by His own guidance and David’s treasure, but by the rich human resources of all the people of Israel. The religious leaders, artisans, and even the princes would be at Solomon’s beck and call, doing whatever he commanded to complete this great work (v. 21).

Praise God that when He calls us to His service, He provides all we need to fulfill His mission: funding, manpower, and prayer support through fellow believers! May we be strong through the power of His might; courageous, knowing that the victory is His, and just do it!

© 2016 Laurie Collett
Womanhood With Purpose
Adorned From Above
No Ordinary Blog Hop